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authors Bhavnani, S.K. and John, B.E.
year 1996
title Exploring the Unrealized Potential of Computer-Aided Drafting
source Proceedings of CHI'96 (1996), 332-339
summary Despite huge investments by vendors and users, CAD productivity remains disappointing. Our analysis of real- world CAD usage shows that even after many years of experience, users tend to use suboptimal strategies to perform complex CAD tasks. Additionally, some of these strategies have a marked resemblance to manual drafting techniques. Although this phenomenon has been previously reported, this paper explores explanations for its causes and persistence. We argue that the strategic knowledge to use CAD effectively is neither defined nor explicitly taught. In the absence of a well-formed strategy, users often develop a synthetic mental model of CAD containing a mixture of manual and CAD methods. As these suboptimal strategies do not necessarily prevent users from producing clean, accurate drawings, the inefficiencies tend to remain unrecognized and users have little motivation to develop better strategies. To reverse this situation we recommend that the strategic knowledge to use CAD effectively should be made explicit and provided early in training. We use our analysis to begin the process of making this strategic knowledge explicit. We conclude by discussing the ramifications of this research in training as well as in the development of future computer aids for drawing and design.
keywords Task Decomposition; Learning
series other
email bhavnani@umich.edu
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